Consultant Atkins has backed the Environment Agency’s call to increase flood defence spending to some £1bn per year.
Responding to the Environment Agency’s assertion that the 2007 floods cost £3.2bn, Atkins say spending on flood defences will avoid similar bills in the future.
The consultant said spending would have to be maintained at this level until 2035 to keep pace with climate change impacts, and damage could increase by 60% without over this period.
Flood defence expert and managing director of Atkins’ environmental & water management business Mike Woolgar said: “Flooding is devastating for those affected – communities are still counting the costs of the 2007 floods and those more recently in Cumbria will resonate in towns like Cockermouth for years to come.
“The government must ensure that flood funding is visible, sufficient and guaranteed so that the Environment Agency and its partners can continue to take a structured, planned and consistent approach to safeguard our homes, communities and infrastructure.
“Benefit/cost ratios and return on investment for funded flood defences are very high and, as the Stern Review into climate change mitigation highlights, the benefits of strong, early action outweigh the costs. It will be much more cost-effective to channel investment into structured flood mitigation plans now to prevent future flood devastation than just responding to the most recent disaster,” he said.